Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MSc)


Kinesiology and Physical Education


Faculty of Science

First Advisor

Dr Jill Tracey

Advisor Role



The study was undertaken to gain a deeper understanding of the transition process out of competitive athletics experienced by competitive athletes after a career-limiting injury by examining three research questions: 1) What is the identity adaptation process of injured athletes? 2) To what extent, if any, do injured athletes experience growth following adversity? 3) What, if any, psychological skills are used in the injury/career transition processes? Nine former elite ath- letes were recruited through key informant sampling. There were three males and six females, with a mean age of 24.6 years. All participants sustained, at minimum, a season-ending injury and no longer participate in high performance athletics. Participants completed a demographic questionnaire, the Athletic Identity Measurement Scale-Plus questionnaire (AIMS-Plus), the Post Traumatic Growth Inventory-42 survey (PTGI-42), and an adapted Change Event Inventory (CEI). Additionally, semi-structured interviews were conducted. Transcripts were analyzed us- ing an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis and themes and subthemes were identified. Analysis revealed the process of identity adaptation is influenced by pre-injury identity, auton- omy of retirement decision, transition style, current employment and time since the injury. Ac- cess to psychological skills training and competence in psychological skill usage heavily influ- enced the application of psychological skills during the rehabilitation and transition process and the outcome of using these skills. No significant evidence of growth was found using the PTGI- 42; however interview data revealed themes centred on experiencing new opportunities, the ability to transfer sport and psychological skills, changes in social supports/networks, a change in the role of sport, a realization of strength and a desire to assist others. Results indicate injured athletes are able to experience growth following adversity and speak to the dynamic process of identity adaptation. Additionally, the data emphasized the requirement for actively participating in adaptation and in the growth process to increase the opportunities for a desirable outcome for injured athletes. Future studies regarding growth and further understanding the transition process are suggested.

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Convocation Season